I found a great article MT. BIKERS vs EQUESTRIANS: An explanation of horses to bikers – written by a biker and recommend it highly. This article is written with a specific focus on mountain bike trails but contains outstanding information for any trail user. I particularly like the descriptions of a horse’s posture and expression to gauge its temperament.
This article is useful here as many of the trails in Ohio are shared by horses and bikes, most notably the Holmes County Trail.
The Holmes County Trail is shared
by horses, buggies and bikes.
One side is for bikes and the other is for horses and buggies
on The Holmes County Trail.
Understand that I am no authority on horses (I wish I were) but felt inspired to write about our experiences sharing the way with horses. The Holmes County Trail is really unique as it sits in the heart of Amish country and the trail is shared with Amish buggies. One side is for bikes and the other is for horses and it flips back and forth in places. It is a little tricky and passing is different than other trails but just remember that bikes always yield to horses and any other trail users. When in doubt, just stop and step off.
The article at horseandman.com says to always dismount, but again I think they are talking about narrow back-country mountain bike trails and equestrians. Most of the horses we have encountered along the trails in Ohio are pulling a buggy of some sort and are accustomed to people and passing is routine.
An Amish buggie crossing the shared
Bridge of Dreams on The Mohican Valley Trail.
On only a couple of occasions, while on Amish roads, not trails, have we had an encounter with a horse that was uncomfortable with us and our bicycles. Once we stopped moving things improved.
One day a man was walking ahead of us with a horse on a the country road and as we approached on our fully loaded touring bikes the horse was clearly displeased. He was rearing up and looking over his shoulder trying to figure out what we were and how to get away from us. We hopped off of our bikes and just walked slowly behind them. Soon they arrived at the next farm and they turned in and we waved and rode away.
Once we were approaching an Amish buggie on a small backroad lane and the horse was unsure of us and was rearing up. We stopped and and stood still, removing our helmets and sunglasses and spoke to horse. He then recognized us as humans and we all went on our way. That’s it. We have shared the trail with horses for many many miles those were the only memorable occasions of a glitch. We are always remember that another glitch is out there so we give a wide berth, slow down and pay attention.
You will always see Amish buggies on The Holmes County Trail in Millerburg but usually not this many. This photo was taken on Auction day, an annual event held in June that supports the trail.